Space Camp!

As a completely unexpected byproduct of my road trip to Dragon*Con this year, I somehow managed to wind up at Space Camp for a day. WHOA!

By “Space Camp”, I mean that I actually wound up at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. The facility is a massive museum of space travel history, and is the home of Space Camp, which is like Disneyland for science-y kids.

On Labor Day this year, the facility hosted Rocket Fest, a fundraiser that gives kids scholarships to Space Camp. As part of the activities that day, the Center scheduled several people to speak and/or perform: Marian Call, Molly Lewis, Joseph Scrimshaw, Ken Plume, and Phil Plait. I wound up there with them because, two days prior, Mr. Scrimshaw said to me between drinks of alcohol, “You should join us!” Since a cursory look at a map revealed that Huntsville, AL was actually somewhat on my way home from Dragon*Con, I said, “YEAH!”

Thus, I drove to Huntsville, slung my camera upon my shoulder, and documented the event for the Twitterati.

Oh, and did I mention that the stage was right under a Saturn V rocket?

Family Photo

If I get just five shots like this per year, I’m a happy photobug.

The show was a ton of fun, and I’m thrilled that I got to see and document it. If you want to see the show, too, and get a Marian-and-Molly tour of the museum afterward, you can see all that it right here on YouTube:

I am sad to report that I did not meet any overly friendly robots, and thus I did not actually get launched into space. However, I did get free pizza. (Space Camp pizza is the best pizza.)

Here are a few other choice images, and a full gallery below. You can also peruse the images directly on Flickr. Enjoy!

Joseph Scrimshaw

Joseph Scrimshaw: Supervillain

 

Phil Plait

Phil Plait: Actual Scientist

Molly Lewis

Molly Lewis

Self Portrait with Saturn V

Self Portrait with a Saturn V Rocket

Phil Plait, Molly Lewis, Joseph Scrimshaw

Phil Plait, Molly Lewis, and Joseph Scrimshaw inside a command module.

PowerPoint Karaoke Returns!

It has been many long months since PowerPoint Karaoke’s powerhouse performance at CONvergence. We have been recuperating… gathering our powers… waiting for the right time

That time will be Thursday, September 27th, at 10:00pm! Doors will open at 9:30pm, so arrive early and have a beer!

This month’s presenters are: Jill Bernard, Joseph Scrimshaw, Eric Heiberg, and Sharon Stiteler!

I won’t be there, as I will be in Texas, but MY SLIDES WILL BE!

Tickets are $7 ($5 with a MN Fringe button), and can be purchased at the Bryant Lake Bowl website!
http://bryantlakebowl.com/calendar/shows/powerpoint-karaoke-7

If you like doing the Facebook thing, you can do that here:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/355577351193652/

Please attend! Laugh! Drink beer!

Dragon*Con 2012

During most years, Dragon*Con is something of a relaxing endeavor. I do not work at the convention; I’m rarely placed on panels; I generally don’t keep a regular schedule; I don’t even lug my camera everywhere. My usual plan is to a) hang out with the Skeptic track folks, b) eat, c) drink. This year, I added d) smoke, because my friend Ted showed me where the cigar bar was.

I don’t have many concrete tales of the weekend, as most of it just blurs together. Various highlights:

  • Playing Cards Against Humanity with various Twitterati… and James Urbaniak. I kept hearing Venture Brothers episodes in my head.
  • Maple vodka
  • Hanging out at epic Scott Sigler parties
  • Hanging out a bar that also contained both half the cast of Firefly and half the cast of Battlestar Galactica. (I desperately hoped for a Sharks vs. Jets musical number.)
  • Drinking beer with Jeff Wagg, and randomly meeting a lady who helped isolate the new Heartland virus
  • Drinking martinis with Donna Mugavero
  • Hanging around with the Mad Art Lab peeps
  • Being Boba Fett for a gender-swapped Star Wars group costume endeavor. (Naturally, I was completely overshadowed by Brian Thompson as Princess Leia.)
  • Smoking cigars and drinking scotch and recording podcasts with Ted Meissner and Matt Lowry

Also…

James Randi and Alice Cooper

Watching James Randi and Alice Cooper talk about the Billion Dollar Babies tour WAS TOTALLY FREAKING AWESOME.

Ryan with Steggy

Everyone loves a stegosaurus.

Steampunk Totoro? Why not!

Steampunk Totoro? Why not!

Matt's Shoes Are FABULOUS

Matt’s shoes were the most FABULOUS thing I saw at Dragon*Con.

The full gallery of images is below. Enjoy!

New Geek Life: In Which I Have Pickles

That’s right. In this week’s episode of The Geek Life, I have pickles. Also, I have dazed stories of Dragon*Con and Space Camp and driving around the country. Whee!

I Am Worth 10 Points: The Death Race 2000 Car

On August 30th, I was in the process of driving from Minneapolis, MN to Atlanta, GA, a trek I now take once per year. At a point just over halfway between the two cities is a town named Effingham, IL, and it was about here that I wanted to take a break.

When I stopped, I found out from Roadside America (which has a great iPhone app) that I was near My Garage Museum. I’m a little bit of a gearhead, and I love classic car museums, so I figured this would be a great opportunity to strech my legs and take a couple photos. Bonus: free admission!

What I didn’t expect to find was this:

The Death Race 2000 Alligator Car

That’s right, kids. I’d stumbled across the FRICKIN’ ALLIGATOR CAR FROM DEATH RACE 2000.

HOLY CRAP! David Carridine sat in that thing!

Self-Portrait with Death Race 2000 Car

…and I’m worth 10 points!

Comparing between the movie and the actual car, there are differences, particularly in the teeth. However, it does look like the car in Effingham is the real deal, so the car must have gone through a polish sometime since 1975.

According to the museum’s web site, the car ”…designed by James Powers and constructed by Dean Jefferies, features the unusual combination of a Volkswagen chassis, Corvair air-cooled power plant, and Corvette style body.” It sure is pretty.

The Death Race 2000 Alligator Car

OM NOM NOM.

The museum also contains a lovely Corvette swag shop, a couple dozen classic Corvettes, and no less than THREE movie-used Herbie the Love Bugs. But the Death Race 2000 car takes the cake.